State lacks the skill to run MARTA

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

● It’s obscene that President Barack Obama’s “special master on compensation” is ordering pay cuts averaging 50 percent for the 25 most highly paid executives at seven firms taking bailouts. Next they’ll order said executives to stay put. And then to order talented executives to work for them. Government goes where it’s destined to do no good. This is pandering to the cheap seats.

● The last Depression brought us the Hoover Hog. This one will bring us the Obama Dollar — currency made worthless by deficits and printing-press spending.

● Headline: “Georgia often sneers as Atlanta struggles.” I’ve never known other state officials to be less inclined to sneer. Except for the local politics of an isolated burg — and I can’t identify one — there’s no political gain in bashing Atlanta. Most Georgians are too consumed with their own troubles. Besides, metro Atlanta’s where most of their children have gone. What they hate about Atlanta is the traffic.

● Well, certainly, the lawyer for executed murderer Mark McClain has a point. Murders in “cases involving far more horrendous facts have escaped even the prospect of being sentenced to death because prosecutors don’t seek it,” said lawyer Brian Kammer. Atlanta courthouse killer Brian Nichols lives. Moral of this story: Not everybody who deserves the death penalty gets it.

● A “Passenger Bill of Rights” that would require airlines to provide food, water and bathrooms to passengers stranded on the tarmac and would limit most waits to three hours awaits congressional action. Not every problem or inconvenience in life requires a legislative solution. Don’t fly airlines you regard as inconsiderate of passengers. We are in an age where people think the courts or Congress exists to punish those who displease us.

● A news and commentary staple of the federal pork-barrel spending programs represented as economic stimulus is that members of Congress who voted against it line up to ask for a piece of the pie. Georgia’s two senators are reported as asking that $50 million be steered to a bioenergy project in Georgia. The underlying premise is that they had not paid the political price for bringing forth the $787 billion “stimulus” bill, so they are hypocritical for asking for the candy. Nonsense. If the spending is to aid America’s recovery — stated but debatable — it should go throughout America, not just to reward politicians for increasing the deficit.

● No question the “stimulus” keeps some on the public-sector payroll. The White House claims 250,000 education jobs were saved or created. The value of a downturn is that it forces public officials to identify the bloat and to get more efficient. Federal money keeps them from having to do that.

● No downturn for public and private colleges. Public college tuition and fees are up an average of 6.5 percent; it’s 4.4 at private four-year colleges. The good news, The Washington Post reports, is that most “do not pay full price.” Grants take care of more than half the expenses at private colleges and the bulk of public college costs. Nobody cares what things cost when somebody else pays.

● Former President Jimmy Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, believes Barack Obama deserved his. Who would have thought he’d say otherwise?

● Good for them. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine has expelled the fertility doctor who aided in the creation of eight children born to an unmarried woman. Dr. Michael Kamrava engaged in a “pattern of behavior” harmful to the industry, the group found.

● Should the state run MARTA, as suggested by Rep. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody). No. Never. Nor the airport, nor the water and sewer system, nor any other local-government function. The state has debt capacity and therefore access to money, but no expertise. The state should coordinate to make certain transportation services are seamless. That’s all.

39 comments Add your comment

Shananeeeee Fananeeeeeee

October 22nd, 2009
8:20 pm

The government lacks the skill to run healthcare to. They have absolutely no buisness worrying about the BCS College Football System as I think our country has bigger problems than this. Obama wasted our time and the tax payers money flying two planes overseas to try and get the Olympics for his city so his cronies could profit. It turns out this guy who promised change and was a “different” kind of candidate is more corrupt than all the rest. Change in 2010 and 2012, Change we are looking forward to.


October 22nd, 2009
8:29 pm

Sounds like Mr. Wooten is afraid that MARTA might get some serious funding if the state took it over. And the state could decide to expand it beyond Fulton & DeKalb. Then more people would find out that rail travel is a convenient and practical option for lots of folks.

Eric P.

October 22nd, 2009
8:46 pm

The “cheap seats” dont have any clout. Why pander to them?


October 22nd, 2009
10:24 pm

Passengers should never be forced to sit on a cramped plane for the period of time it takes to fly to the west coast. Pull back to the terminal, let the passengers deplane with the understanding that they must be available and ready to get back on the plane and leave within thirty minutes.

MARTA once put a welfare queen on its board. Never give them state money. They are beyond hope.

The executives who accepted bailout money only have themselves to blame. Don’t want the government telling you what to do, don’t accept their money. It ALWAYS comes with strings attached.


October 22nd, 2009
11:58 pm

Man you are out of touch.

Loran, Whatayagot?

October 23rd, 2009
12:14 am

You hate to see Congress get involved in regulating wait times on the tarmac, but the major airlines are all guilty of disregarding a passenger’s best interests at times. What’s a traveller to do? Airtran doesn’t go everywhere. Heavy fines against offending airlines would force them them to rethink their behavior and policies.

Also DO NOT invest in any of the companies the salary czar penalizes. The top talent running these companies will flee to companies offering them an approximate salary that they had to give up. There will be a redistribution of financial talent. The Obama administration is big on redistribution.

Nat Turner

October 23rd, 2009
12:55 am

The state also doesn’t have the skill to run the:
Education System
Dept. of Transportation
Dept of Family and Child Services
Public Works
Real Estate (the non requirement of contractors/roofers, inspectors to have a license)
List goes on and on


October 23rd, 2009
3:49 am

Good morning Jim,

So far about the only thing I’ve agreed with the Obama administration on is their desire to limit the pay for the executives that are in the fore of the meltdown.The seven companies receiving the most taxpayer money.One other thing,Jim.We the people have it in our power to fire the elected officials that caused all the problems.Do you think we will?

The American dollar decendeth.If we had manufactured any goods in the past,we might just be able to sell some abroad.Oil prices are going to kill us.

I went to Atlanta.It isn’t anything I’ll willing do again.

Brian Klammer is right.

The stimulus saved or created 250,000 teachers aide’s jobs.

Behavior harmful to the industry,Dr. Michael Kamrava and the seven executives mentioned in item one.

Addendum:I read that the Treasury department didn’t fully understand AIG’s bonus scheme.The scheme was simple,Ben;take every cent they could carry out as fast as they could do it before someone lowered the boom.

Have a good week Jim.

Charles Jackson

October 23rd, 2009
5:52 am

No, it was obscene for those firms to fail and then get gov’t money to bail them out. Once they took the $, the gov’t has every right to limit their compensation. That’s the price they paid for accepting gov’t $.


October 23rd, 2009
6:52 am

Conservative commentators are saying that capping the compensation for the executives of these bailout recipients will result in these executives leaving and moving to other firms. That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all year! What solvent company in their right mind would fire any of their current executinves to hire those that are responsible for puting the bailout recipients in this mess? Would you? I think not!

Ragnar Danneskjöld

October 23rd, 2009
7:36 am

Dear Gman @ 8:52, why do you assume the economic distress is the “fault” of business executives rather than the overlords? Last I saw, Congress regulated-to-death the auto companies, forcing them to abandon their profitable models to produce weak imitations of Japanese vehicles. Similarly the housing bubble was a creation of Congress, via CRA and taxpayer-subsidy of FNMA and FHLMC (aka stick and carrot.) The Bank of American cramdown is especially heinous, as the government compelled BoA to swallow the deceptions in the Merrill Lynch deal. Of course, the good message in the salary cramdown is that all hereafter will recognize that if you make a deal with Satan you will get burned by his deceptions.

Road Scholar

October 23rd, 2009
7:43 am

Big business is like a fraternity…I’ll scratch your back if you elect me to your board. Who is responsible for these outlandish salaries…the board members who also are upper mgmt in their companies. Oh, and like these people will police their actions…right!

Just like the airlines..they will police themselves and do the right thing. Right! Jim, have you looked at the lack of competition at Hartsfield? Where is SW air? Virgin? Jet Blue? etc.

College tuition in GA has been held down to keep the Hope Scholarships solvent. Why don’t you talk to college Presidents or school heads about it?

As for GDOT having the expertise for MARTA, they used to grow experience with employees having a career path at GDOT which provided competence. That is gone now thanks to the governors, esp Perdue, since they have ran off the most qualified employees. What about the consultant world? These were dubbed the solution to reduce costs by the Repubs- privatize. Oh, their salaries are higher than state employees doing the same job (sometimes better). They charge 150% overhead (min) on top of it and 10% profit. For every dollar you pay a state employee you pay $1.50 (including OHD and benefits) while you pay a consultamt at least $2.75 (incl OHD, Benefits and profit).Good deal!
The consultant mantra…Do it just good enough to need revising or reanalysis!

Road Scholar

October 23rd, 2009
7:52 am

Ragnar: “..forcing them to abandon their profitable models to produce weak imitations of Japanese vehicles..”

Au Contraire. The public demanded a vehicle with the features of a foreign car, because all the American add-ons were standard features in the foreign cars being sold. I had a person in the office who would “never buy a foreign car”. He’s been driving a Toyota for ten years. Why? Gas mileage, lack of the need for service, dependability, looks, etc. While the government req’d seat belts, polution equipment, and mileage standards, the American auto producers sold out to the gas companies. That coupled with poor management (have you seen the synopsis on GM and its worthless management?) led to their demise. Lee Iococca took over Chrysler and cleaned it up, until he left and they fell back to their own demise.

Government standards…suck on an exhaust pipe!


October 23rd, 2009
8:10 am

For (bpj at 8:55 & Nat @ 12:55 ) State Employee’s and agency’s have the ability to run these agency’s & Marta too!! BUT!! the biggest problem is the legislature cannot overcome the petty politics in order to give them the funds neccesary to operate those agency’s. Example every representative & state senator, & state business leaders for the last 3 years has realized that the GDOT needed more money to build newer roads & upgrade existing roads, but couldn’t agree on how to do it & as a result our roads have begun to slowly decline in condition, it would be the same result with a state takeover of Marta the politicians would not allocate the needed funds to run the system ( which is a money vacumn to begin with ) there is no self sustianing Rapid transit system in the United States.


October 23rd, 2009
8:19 am

I think what Fran Millar was trying to state (which I agree) is that if the state did run Marta, you could tie that into the DOT and come with real solutions to our traffic issues. When they are pitted against each other, they are only doing what’s best for them and not the state as a whole. How is it that other states run rail lines and buses so much more efficently than we do? LA has horrible traffic, yet has one of the best bus systems.
We need to look at this issue and allow someone to run and really run it. Stop playing all these political games and get some real work done. Your momma doesn’t work for the state so stop acting like children and get some issues solved for a change.

Chris Broe

October 23rd, 2009
8:25 am

Didn’t Jimmy Carter fend off an attack by an Hoover Hog with a canoe paddle? Jack Rabbits and Armadillos. The Hoover Hogs were the Killer Bees of the Depression Era, and our president was lucky to have survived the attack.

GM vs Ford. Pinto vs Vega. Corolla won. The Corolla is an amazing automobile. Look at the prices of the new line up of Chevys and Fords. They must think we’re all CEO’s who escaped the 50% pay cut, eh?


October 23rd, 2009
8:31 am

“The top talent running these companies will flee to companies offering them an approximate salary that they had to give up.”

@Loran: would that be the same top “talent” that ran their companies into the ground?

Do the Math

October 23rd, 2009
8:35 am

Pandering to the cheap seats is just as pathetic as pandering to the corporate boxes. Most Americans are poorly represented by politicians they elect regardless of party.

Atlanta does not have a traffic problem, its the suburbanites trying to get in and out of the city on daily basis that have a problem.

Agree about the State not able to run MARTA or the Airport. The State has shown itself to be the 2nd most ineffective government in Georgia right behind Clayton County.

"Charles", The Original

October 23rd, 2009
8:39 am

Jim Wooten said it best, “Not every problem or inconvenience in life requires a legislative solution. Don’t fly airlines you regard as inconsiderate of passengers. We are in an age where people think the courts or Congress exists to punish those who displease us.” My grandfather taught me forty years ago that you can either address a problem from a position of strength, honor, and dignity, or you can spend a lifetime of futility addressing a problem from a position of weakness, dishonor, and cowardice. Using legislation to punish those who displease us is addressing a problem from a position of weakness. The Civil Right Movement is a prime example. The courts were used to force people on both sides of the isle to participate in an experiment called integration that was against the collective will of the people, Negroes and white. And the results after forty years have been disastrous, downright genocidal for the vast majority of Negroes. And white people struggle with the cancerous intervention in the American political discourse of an opportunist enemy.

To search for alternative services or create a new airline is addressing a problem from a position of strength. It’s likely that a problem will be resolved by finding another airline to do business with. If by chance no airlines are found to be up to standards, organize and create enough capital to start a considerate, convenient, and efficient airline to compete for the business of passengers. Early on, a start up airline isn’t expected to be as extravagant as the inconsiderate established ones. The objective is to put passengers in the position of deciding between the inconsiderate established airlines or the startup considerate airline with signs of humble beginnings. The new airline should be almost an immediate success. If not, the people will have presented themselves before God Almighty and man to be worthy of the service provided.

Do the Math

October 23rd, 2009
8:48 am

Trucks and SUVs have been subsidized by tax payers for decades. For the most part, they’re not profitable either. If it weren’t for bailouts, emissions loop holes, the cost of keeping gas cheap, buy american sentiment, 1-year depreciation write downs, etc. the big 3 would have all failed years ago.

JF McNamara

October 23rd, 2009
9:27 am

You’re against cutting pay for people who ran their company in the ground and had to be bailed out by the government? If they hadn’t been rescued they would make much less or not even have a job to go to.

You can’t use the capitalist “get what you earn” only when things are going well. They failed, and now the capitalist system says they should earn less. Its what they deserve for doing a bad job.

Weak Dollar WAS Bushes economic policy because it gave the multi-nationals a leg up over seas. If he hadn’t handed over an already weak dollar, massive deficit spending to fund the war, and numerous unfunded liabilities, then the dollar wouldn’t be in the trouble it is in now.

The dollar was already extremely weak and the financial crisis just made it much worse. You’re criticizing Obama for doing what he was almost forced to do, but you didn’t criticize Bush for what he willing did.

I know this is just your topical blog and you don’t put much thought into it but come on. Stop misleading people.


October 23rd, 2009
9:32 am

Jim, are you serious – “Don’t fly airlines you regard as inconsiderate of passengers.” Most are outrageously inconsiderate especially the home town favorite Delta. You might get special treatment because you can respond in print to an audience of thousands but that does not apply to rest of us. I wish Southwest Airlines would come to Atlanta but Delta and the city has been blocking that for years.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lords work

October 23rd, 2009
9:38 am

Ragnar Danneskjöld

October 23rd, 2009
7:36 am


October 23rd, 2009
9:51 am

Jim it is called the Bush Dollar & has been around several years.

National debt on day 1 of the Bush 43 administration’s first budget…..

National debt on the last day of the Bush 43 administration’s last budget…..$11,909,829,003,512.

Read'em and weep

October 23rd, 2009
10:12 am

travelerguy @8:31
If that top talent was so good, then please tell me how in the h*** did their companies end up needing 3/4 of a trillion dollars in Bailouts??? If the companies don’t wish to operate under federal guidlines, then Simply give back every dime of stimulus money and go it on their own…

Mutts R Dirty, Filthy Scum

October 23rd, 2009
10:13 am

A little on the shrill side today, R U not Jimmy….to much estorgen? or repuke desperation? imho, a little of both. That said, I agree with much of what you said, the state should never run Marta, or any other local enterprise. The airport is something else, it has been a pork barrel money machine for the Atlanta crooks for too long, time for the State to take over.


October 23rd, 2009
10:20 am

Wow, you wingnutz are really a pathetic bunch. All of the negativity and faux outrage at a President that is trying to put this country BACK on the right track. You seem as if you live in some time warp. Can’t you losers see that you’re being used? Played?? They have gotten into your little brains and placed a tin foil hat on top to deflect any resembelance of logic and truth. You exist in that segment’s reality and are being led to non-existence. As a TAXPAYER and having had the corporations that were TOO BIG TO FAIL (with OUR money), bailed out by the Bush administration, WITH NO OVERSIGHT, you “geniuses” said nothing. NOTHING!!! Now you sit here and complain when President Obama chides these thieves and then takes action to prevent them from further screwing us while continuing to line their pockets (that would be you, me and Bubba as the screwees). Ever wonder why your fellow Tinhatters are thinning out? Acting like they don’t know you? I always knew that Georgia Re-Cluess-icans were a dumb bunch, but these continued rants further secures the title of one of the dumbest states in the union. We can’t even have a decent rail system as the rest of the free world has. (Traffic problems, eh?), Buckhead is a ghost town, Grady (WHICH SERVES EVERYONE) is constantly in financial trouble, the counties are like little fifedoms, 28 counties and no cohesive law enforcement that covers all, 28 forms of government which confuses all, even more municipal governments which continue to baffle all, and truly embarrasing Federal and State representatives (Perdue, Issakson, Chambliss, Gingrey, Broun, Price, yep, even Lewis). But you “geniuses” continue to splinter and say the dumbest things I’ve read. You think that President Obama is the cause of everything wrong with this country, incredible. And all of this started on 1/20/09. Seriousilly??? You think that Dubya and Tricky Dick did this country a favor? Look at the mess that was left the current administration. Look at how the banking system is literally screwing all of us, while at the brink of collapse. Look at how medical care is making people choose between living and dying, and going bankrupt in the process. We are in two wars and are no closer to catching the person who killed over 3000 Americans. We’ve lost over 5000 in wars that we should not be in. Not too mention the loss of freedoms and evidently the pseudo presidency of one Dick Cheney. (This is like a bad novel). I bet that the majority of you, to include Jim Wooten, Neal Boorez, Rush, Hannity, Beck and the rest of the Loon Squad, have NEVER served a day in the military, thus further proving that NONE of you or them have a right to say anything about FIGHTING a war. Go back to Call to Duty on your frikkin XBOX and get a clue. Rushing into Afghanistan would be like rushing into Iraq. The President refuses to repeat the mistakes of the previous adminsitration, NO MATTER HOW HARD DICK TRIES TO REWRITE HISTORY IN FRONT OF US. The Bushies did NOT rely on facts from the commanders in the field (yet they demand that the President should, which he really is), Hell, they didn’t even rely on the intelligence they had (which the President IS relying on), and you want to throw rocks at the President? I don’t know where you “patriots” come from, but we used to call it cowardice and treasonist. The things the past administration has done is worthy of vigourous prosecution and you act as if they should be heralded. Shame on each and everyone of you. Shame.

Man, that felt good getting some of this off my chest. It’s comforting to know that overall, most AMERICANS are rooting for the success of our nation. Inspite of you. It’s good to hope that one day the Atlanta region will get it together because most of you haters are going to go away. You’re too old to change and too dumb to allow forward thinking. You’ll probably go faster if Healthcare Reform is not approved and the Insurance companies continue to kill us all (ALL includes you). You’d rather die holding on to pennies and the lies from the pundits who all of sudden have answers when they were silent for 8 frikkin years, than live free of those that wish the status quo to continue.

Jim, retire. Stay retired. And take your narrow and outdated views with you. The American Public is no longer are afraid of your and yours like you fake boogeymen.

Chris Broe

October 23rd, 2009
10:21 am

“…..This depression will bring us the Obama Dollar….”

This is a depression?

Grading Wooten: The human digestive tract is explored in a blog soup. Wooten opens with cooked books. Then he introduces food including hogs, pieces of pie, pork barrels, water and candy. Wooten concludes with bathrooms and sewers.

Tip your waitress!


October 23rd, 2009
11:06 am

After the Bush years of ripping off America’s……….. I understand why you think government can’t run anything !


October 23rd, 2009
12:03 pm

Read’em and weep @ 10:12

I completely agree with you. Maybe my OP didn’t make that clear — the first part was quoting a previous post. If it wasn’t clear, mea culpa. I’m with you — I find it absurd people say all this “top talent” will go elsewhere. I want to know what “top talent” drives their companies off a cliff … and what board would want the losers to run their companies?

Churchill's MOM

October 23rd, 2009
1:13 pm

You need a new cook if:

Your microwave display reads “TILT!”

You know dinner is ready when the smoke alarm goes off.

Your dog goes to the neighbors’ to eat.

Your family automatically heads for the dinner table every time they hear a
fire truck siren.

If the EPA requires that all your garbage cans be marked with large bright
red “biohazard” symbols.

Your family buys Rolaids, Pepto Bismal, and Tums in bulk.

Your homemade bread loaf can be used as a door stop.

You used three boxes of scouring pads, a bottle of Drano and a crowbar, but
that macaroni and cheese still won’t let go of the pan!

You call your mother to ask how long to boil cabbage to make coleslaw.

The family pets are no where to be found during dinner.

If anyone has ever broken a tooth while eating your homemade yogurt.

stands for decibels

October 23rd, 2009
1:57 pm

Remember when Jim Wooten was similarly outraged that bailed-out union workers were being forced to accept compensation cuts?

Neither can I.


October 23rd, 2009
3:14 pm

What’s really obscene is that AIG,BoA and CitiGroup lost (pilfered?) $51Billion in 2008 alone.

Yet they still decided to give million dollar “bonuses” to over 1600 execs. To the tune of $12Billion.

But the Republiconned will always bleat and wail for those Ivory Towered poor suffering souls who damn near brought the American economy to the brink of disaster.

And cheer while millions of innocent Americans lose everything and see a lifetime of work stolen from them in a few years.

Man you BushCo sycophants are something. Your kids must hate you…


October 23rd, 2009
3:23 pm

Oh, and I always love it when the King of the Konned feigns concern for American consumers.

Whether they be airline passengers, shareholders, taxpayers or pensioners.

And yes, lets make higher education more difficult to get and more expensive!

After all, all they do is fill kids heads with liberal junk science, etc…

Jimbo, why do you care what Carter thinks? Of course, you don’t. Until it fits your agenda.

Not only should Georgia not run MARTA. they should privatize the police, the fire departments, and the National Guard.

Its the corporatist American way…

Hard Right Hook

October 24th, 2009
9:25 am


October 23rd, 2009
10:20 am
“Wow, you wingnutz are really a pathetic bunch. All of the negativity and faux outrage at a President that is trying to put this country BACK on the right track.”

Right track? More appropriately, his personal track. This guy with the big ears is a pathetic amatuer without a clue. His narcassistic ego-driven approach to virtually everything is comical; makes Jimmy Carter look competant.

Comer on 2010.


October 25th, 2009
9:17 am

Wooten was against the bailout package i am pretty sure. I was against it myself. But then you say you are against limiting the amount of taxpayer dollars that these executives get to take home with them? They shouldn’t be getting paid at all! How does it make logical sense that they take home huge dollars while they ran a company into the ground and the govt. has to bail it out?

Whining about Obama promoting Chicago for the Olympics? Really? What if it had been a different US city? Exactly. Wooten, you are an idiot.


October 25th, 2009
11:52 am

We just had another major Meth bust in Metro Atlanta. How about politicans truly addressing the crime and cost illegal immigrants bring to this county and why there is nothing being done. We might as well give up. The wealthy don’t care because money shields them from even coming into contact with illegal immigrants except to employ them at cheap rate. The reality is, it only affects the average American and as it seems, no one gives a damn about us!

Oscar Adelman

October 26th, 2009
6:06 pm

I believe that Marta is not able to pull itself out of the whole it has put itself into because they do not have ANY money. I am not saying that the state should take it over though, i mean look at how our public educational system is ranked and then ask yourself if you would like those people to be in-charge of your ride to work/school everyday too. I believe that with a major funding boost and some tweaks Marta could get back on the right track. First Marta needs to allow and encourage vendors to set up stands (and eventually stores) in their stations. in turn Marta should collect enough rent to pay for the additional clean up fees associated with more trash being brought onto the trains and to help expand their system. Marta should also increase advertising in the stations, trains, and everywhere they can to get more money. I believe the main thing is that Marta needs to make some sort of deal (with a private bank or the state Gov.) for a low-interest loan so they can expand their tracks and get more riders. With more riders and more income maybe we can hope that someday Marta could be considered an actual transportation method by a few commuters.


November 10th, 2009
9:21 am

Jim, I’m not sure if I’ve ever agreed with you on much of anything, but as a longtime MARTA user (no car), an airport user, and a recipient of Atlanta’s water and sewer services, I fully agree with your statements. It’s nice to see someone with a record of support for local control recognize the statehouse’s diversion from its conservative principles when it tries to absorb operation of local transit, a local airport, and a local sewer/water system into the State government.